This past week has been a really busy week. Ahead of the SAM Club AGM on the 3rd April 2023, the nomination forms for the Committee were sent out. With 175 members, the SAM Club can surely find a dozen members to help manage and direct the future of your Club. Committee members can be proposed at the AGM meeting and it would help if you could inform the Chairman (email via the SAM website) that would be very helpful. It was Daylight Saving Time last Sunday and we all lost an hour of sleep. An hour doesn’t seem like much, but it can, as your body adjusts to the new circadian rhythm, have quite an impact on your ability to ride over the next couple of weeks. I’ve written an article and posted it on the SAM website. Share it with all your social media friends as they may also be interested in how to cope with the new rhythms of life too.
The world of motorcycles is constantly evolving with new technology, innovations, and regulations. Yamaha’s Advanced Motorcycle Stabilization Assist System (AMSAS) is hoping to help develop a world free of accidents. Technology making promises that are more hype than substance? Better safety news is that M’Cycle airbag pants won a French innovation award for their contribution to rider safety. Similarly, BMW is developing a multifunction stereo camera system. Although the Honda Goldwing had the first bike-integrated airbag, Piaggio are developing an integrated airbag for their scooters. It looks like it could catapult the rider off the bike! What happens when two engineers get hold of a napkin? They develop an origami model to build the frame of a scooter by folding sheet steel! The things engineering designers get up to when sitting down to eat.
However, not all innovations are aimed at redesigning safer motorcycles. This week, the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) proposed a radical alternative aimed at saving ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) motorcycles from oblivion. They met with a Government Minister to propose a hybrid system of transport. This would include the widespread electrification of public transport, use of non-carbonising fuels and more rapid development of better motorcycle power trains. Within the timescale for the removal of ICE-powered motorcycles and the reliance on a single technology would, MAG argue, be devastating for society and for people who rely on two-wheeled transport in their daily lives. Being outside the EU, MAG suggested, presents a real opportunity for the UK to develop its own alternatively-powered two-wheeled vehicles.
Seven-year warranties are usually the preserve of 4-wheeled vehicles. However, Sinnis is offering an unprecedented 7-year, unlimited mileage motorcycle warranty, which could provide peace of mind for many riders. The initiative is designed to show that Chinese-built motorcycles can be well-made and reliable over the long term.
Rider safety is also not just about developing bike technology and protective gear. It also involves adapting to changing regulations. ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) schemes have been implemented, to improve air quality and protect the public, in major cities. However, the impact of these blanket solutions are having a seriously adverse impact on local community and health services. At a time of increased financial hardship, community nurses, social workers and home care staff struggle to afford the increased financial burden. Having just suffered widespread industrial action, shouldn’t the local governments have considered the impact of ULEZ on vital community services before implementation; or, at the very least, not put the sick and disabled members of their communities in more difficulty. One question raised this week was ‘How long will it be before the whole of the UK is in the ULEZ zone?’ Now there is a terrifying thought!
It’s not just in the UK that bikers are having a tough time. The Spanish Government recently made the controversial decision to ban motorcycles from Spain’s highest park. This was done to ‘protect’ the residents from noise pollution. The Spanish Motorcyclists’ Federation (RFME) branded the move ‘unjustified discrimination’ and requested the park authority to publish the noise levels emitted from all types of vehicle using the park.
Away from regulations and safety concerns, bikers continue to find joy in their bikes. This can include unconventional activities such as cooking scrambled eggs on a Ducati Panigale V4 S. Read about it to believe it! A better way to enjoy your bike is to write the journey to getting a full licence and how to charge essential electronics whilst travelling. There is also a report on a proposed law in Hawaii that will allow bikers to ride through a red light at specific times of the day. Now there is an even scarier thought!
Finally, you can watch, on the BBC iPlayer, a fascinating documentary about Irish Road Racing from the 1920s to the present day. Motorcycle Mavericks will be available on the iPlayer until September. Happy reading and see you at the SAM Club AGM.